The Eyes & Ears: Kennewick Couple Works Together To See & Hear - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The Eyes & Ears: Kennewick Couple Works Together To See & Hear

We use our eyes and our ears for just about every form of communication, but for one Kennewick couple they only have one full set between the two of them. We use our eyes and our ears for just about every form of communication, but for one Kennewick couple they only have one full set between the two of them.

KENNEWICK, WA - We use our eyes and our ears for just about every form of communication, but for one Kennewick couple they only have one full set between the two of them.

Alejandro Vazquez is legally blind and Janie Gaunt has been deaf since the age of 12. They have been together for over a decade.

This week the receiver for Gaunt's hearing implant died. They have always been each other's eyes and ears. Now, they have to work together until they find a solution.

Gaunt can lip-read and she uses sign language, but she has to get close to Vazquez's face so he can see. They like to go for walks, but it takes time for his eyes to adjust to the light.

When we asked her if she feels lucky to have someone like Vazquez in her life she quickly blurted, "Oh yeah, very lucky."

Most of their communication is actually through facebook messaging. When Vazquez can't get her attention he flicks lights in their apartment and then greets her with the sign language symbol for love.

"It's your happiness that counts. Not everybody else's opinion or anybody else's feelings, just yours," said Gaunt.

She works at Best Buy as a cashier. This week when her hearing receiver died she went from being able to hear about 80% of all sounds to not hearing anything but vibrations.

"I have a pen and paper now. I tell them, 'hey I'm deaf. I can't hear well. So I can read your lips or I have a pen and pad. They communicate well so far."

She explained she is scared her performance at work is starting to slip

"They have these numbers of how many plans you sell or how many credit cards you get. She was at the top and she's dropping now because she can't communicate like she used to," said Vazquez.

Gaunt says she does not stress about what she cannot do. She understands who she is and knows that where her hearing may fail, there is a set of ears she can count on.

"I wasn't upset and I wasn't happy. I know I'm deaf, it's just the way it is."

It is going to cost about $8,000 dollars for Gaunt to get the only new receiver model still on the market and her insurance does not cover it. They have set up a donation page for people to help. If you would like more information you can find her page for raising funds here: http://www.deafdonations.myevent.com/

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